Allusion in The Devil and Tom Walker

Irving alludes to the Bible multiple times throughout this story. This literary device both reminds the audience of the story’s moral center and aligns the story with New England beliefs. The allusions therefore function to make Irving’s fictional story feel more like a real legend.

The Devil and Tom Walker 1
"he found the black print of a finger..."   (The Devil and Tom Walker)

The mark of the devil has significance in many stories and likely comes from the biblical story of Cain and Abel, in which Cain was punished by God with exile and a permanent mark for killing his brother, Abel. Old Scratch's mark on Tom’s forehead perhaps alludes to this story.